Spring has finally sprung in the sweet Carolinas! In reality, we will enjoy approximately one week of true springtime weather… shortly after, the dreaded humid heat of summer will be upon us. In the meantime, this frugal family is waiting as long as possible to turn on the air conditioning. We’ve got all of the windows open and a box fan rigged in the sisters’ nursery window. The breeze is nice, especially in the cool of night.
Well, this silly momma forgot about the open windows last night when she decided to have a meltdown. Oops.
Yesterday, we spent all afternoon outside. We threw a baseball, played in the kiddie pool, chased our pups around, and ate pistacchios. Sun & dirt abounded. It was glorious. Then a family friend brought over Salsarita’s for dinner – perfectly delicious! And messy. I could feel the exhaustion & crankiness brewing, but I tried to tamp it down as Chris whispered across the table, “Momma- you think you got a game in you? Could we bowl with the boys on the Playstation3?”
I nodded my head and headed upstairs to bathe Ames. The boys & Chris were going to handle clean-up, and then we’d all meet in the den after I’d put the toddler down. Except he wasn’t having it. The kid kept signing “music” over & over and screaming at the top of his lungs. I couldn’t help but laugh. Ames knows our routine. We almost always have music on during the evening hours. So we let him stay downstairs and dance, while the rest of us put away dishes and wiped down tabletops to the sounds of Jesus Culture.
The boys must have had a little too much fun in the sun that afternoon because they had a hard time following directions. They’d start a job and then get distracted, stopping to gaze at the sisters or chase Ames around. Chris reminded them to stay on-task, that there would be something fun afterwards if they could just follow directions and get through it. I could feel our patience wearing thin, and I noticed we were both getting snippy with them.
When we finished cleaning the kitchen & putting the leftovers away, I scooped Ames up and took him upstairs. He needed a bath, so I set him down on the bathroom rug and popped into his room to grab pajamas. I was only two steps away when I heard the thud. I found Ames belly-up on the bathroom floor. He had stepped off of the rug and slipped in standing water on the floor… the older boys hadn’t cleaned up after their showers. Ames had hit his head, and I had hit my boiling point. I bellowed from the top of the stairs, “BOYS! GET UP HERE AND CLEAN UP THIS BATHROOM NOWWWW!” I used that scary deep voice women should never have. Ames & I were both crying at this point. I took him into his room and held him, while the boys ran upstairs and mopped up the floor.
Chris found me in Ames’ room. He tried to calm me down while reminding me that our windows were open & our neighbors were outside. Apparently, he was out emptying the kiddie pool when I exploded, so I’m guessing the whole street heard me roar. At that point, I didn’t care. I couldn’t seem to lower my voice as I went on about cleaning up after oneself and how much water was on that floor and blah blah blah. On top of that, Ames kept signing for Daddy and trying to get off of my lap. I guess I scared him or something. Way to go, Momma.
Chris bathed Ames & put him to bed while I cooled off. I sat outside on the front porch with one of the sisters and took some deep breaths. I noticed one of my neighbors playing outside with her daughter. I didn’t hesitate to claim my dirty laundry episode. She came back with, “My three year-old found a razor in the shower and cut her thumb today!” So there’s always that.
As I sat, the music from our stereo filtered through the open windows. Worship. Worship music & conviction washed over me as I snuggled one of the only kids I hadn’t hurt that evening. After a few more deep breaths, I went inside and apologized to everyone. I told Chris I was sorry for yelling and losing my cool. I asked for the boys’ forgiveness as we prayed with them & tucked them in. We had a great talk. Then I sneaked into Ames’ room and watched him sleep for a moment. He just sucked his fingers peacefully, which I took as him forgiving me for letting him slip & hit his head. Oh, but in the middle of the night, he screamed a panicked cry – the kind that sends chills down mothers’ spines. I bolted in there to find his arm twisted & stuck in the slats of his crib (he’s fine now). So there’s always that.
There is so much grace in God’s family. And as a result, there is so much grace in my family. And for that, I am so grateful.